By ROBERT PALME
PAPUA New Guinea is heading for disaster if spending on priority areas by provincial governments continues to decline.
And, one of the major concerns is the maintenance of transport infrastructure which can turn the country's roads into bushes followed by health and education sectors.
These gloomy pictures were drawn by the chairman and chief executive officer of the National Economical and Fiscal Commission Dr Nao Badu on Tuesday.
Speaking at the launching of the 2008 Provincial Expenditure Review, Dr Badu said he is worried for infrastructure as it is one of the priority areas.
"Infrastructure is on the decline...people should be worried....five years on, if we continue on this trend, we will not have what we use to have.
"If four years is any indication on maintenance on roads, we are going back to the bushes. "In 10 to 20 years, we will be going back to the bushes," he told a packed conference room.
The CEO said, based on the expenditure on the recurrent budget, it looks "very very gloomy."
Dr Badu said the infrastructure spending by provinces is followed closely by health that he said is also worrying when it involves the lives of peoples and the working populace.
"If you spend peanuts, you get peanuts, if this is the amount spent on health, you should be scared," Dr Badu said.
On the contrary, spending on low priority areas increased with administration costs topping the list.
Diagrams showed, shows that spending on administration over the last four years is K80 million in 2008 while health in the same year received below K10 million.
The overall expenditure on health, education and agriculture in the four years increased by about K20 million while administration alone received nearly K38 million.
Dr Badu in his recommendations said spending on low priority areas will have to decrease while increases are made in the priority areas like health, education, agriculture and infrastructure.